tv Mosaic World News LINKTV November 8, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PST
including four in south america. in the northern andes subregion, ecuador is the smallest country, but one of its most dynamic, at least geologically. the physical geography of ecuador is dominated by the volcanoes and other mountains that are raised up as the tectonic plate beneath the pacific ocean slowly but violently collides with south america. around the world, humans have learned to survive such natural hazards, but sometimes they cannot escape tragedy. in this story, we follow a geographer working at many levels to help people live with a killer volcano. narrator: of the 200 volcanoes in ecuador, 30 could erupt again. guagua pichincha has devastated quito, the capital, several times, so scientists monitor emissions of sulfur gas with gatonrn.
in 1985, a massive eruption in neighboring colombia melted snowfields, causing mudflows that killed more than 23,000 people. throughout south america, scientists study the tragedy and vow to prevent the next one. they may get their chance here, in ecuador. the tungurahua volcano threatens a town of 17,000 at the base of the mountain. it is called baños. although baños is very near the equator, its elevation in the andes gives it a mild climate.
and you have aibranty and somtourist economy.ings on the surrounding hillsides, adequate rainfall and fertile volcanic soils sustain agriculture. but the same natural forces that sustain the economy are also a source of danger. hoping to avoid a agedy, geographer patty mothes maps and monitors several volcanoes for ecuador's geophysica institute,nclu tunguhua. she is looking for any changes that might signal an eruption. moes and onofhese ways thate hat is to put a prism that's highly reflective, or a number of prisms up on the flanks of the volcano, and then, shooting with this very high-powered laser beam...
narrator: the beams reflect off the prisms and back to patty's measuring device. it canetsubthanges in t shapef the mountain, changes that may forecast an eruption and save lives. their concern is based on history. inside a church, a mural recalls a deadly eruption in 1773. it happened again in 1886 and 1918. so why do people live in such a dangerous place? some people simply cannot afford to move, due to limited economic means. re, elshere,sinesses decisions to le near dangerils on attachnte balanced agast the eived risks.
but perceptions often tinged . no es peligroso, no... translator: , it'sot going to be ngerous for baños butwhen the tungurahuatinged . no eerupts again no... there arsome big ravines over there bd the mouth of theolcanoged . that it wi spew th w.y,noso ther narrator: in a small eruption,he mi. a major blast of lava flows would likely move west and miss the center of town. but shooting down these ravines, pyroclastic flows could incinerate part of the town in an avalanche of superheated gas and ash. it's happened before. siempre por meses después... narrator: mothes tries to communicate the hazard to young civil defense workers. primeros todos bajaren en una velocidad muy, muy alta. puede ser mucho más rápido... translator: they can go much faster than a horse can run, or a person. we are talking about hundreds of kilometers per hour.
the burning lava can reach the bottom of the mountain in less than five minutes. it's something that's truly formidable. narrator: the team distributes evacuation maps around town diagram escape routes. to gather more clues of an impending disaster, mo and her team bury sensitivseismic monitors the signals are radioed toecback to the institute, where each new installation tests the equipment and the scientists' nerves. ( equipment whirring ) mothes: whee! good work. narrator: mothes and geologist peter hal, hopi that they won't someday have to make the tough call. eruptions can kill and destroy.
but evacuaons cause greapendcoc. what if they sound the alarm wi pplbelieve emy ow the next time, before it really does? suddenly, after nitoring the mountain for five years, their theoretical problem has become alarmingly real. ( rumbling explosions echoing ) mothes: in september 1998, our existing seismic network on the volcano began to register a greater number of fracture-type earthquakes beneath the volcano. narrator: the next august,ungurahua releases a column of steam thousands of feet in the air. the deadly vapor accompanies more earthquakes and sulfur emissions. it's time for the scientists to go public. on the tenth of september, we decided we had better call a yellow alert, which changed the way erybody looked at the volcano.
narrator: soon, people could not only see but feel the danger. ( volcano rumbling ) the violent mountain throws out clouds of volcanic ash, suffocating crops and animals. voano rumb ) now, ordinary citizens could taste the peril lurking in the mountain. their fears are reflected in patty's tilt meters, which show powfuforces puing just bel sur. their fears are reflected she believes the surge is caused by molten magma rising to the peak. mothes: we knew that magma was moving, t we'd not been able to confirm visually that it was there near the summit. narrator: suddenly, it surfaced-- fiery magma glowing in the midnight sky. ( loud boom ) ( crowd exclaims; whistling ) ( people cheering ) hall: the incandescence that we saw on the 11th of october
led us to believe that an eruption could come very soon. buenos días, cómo montecito... narrator mothes hall need a closer look at the smokg crater. here, theyonfront the odds of disaster. hall: given that yes, now we have magma in the crater, all the way to the summit of the mountain, all we need is some big explosions to get that lava out and down the flanks of the volcano. narrator: but rather than send out a red alert, the scientists still show restraint. so they are surprised in october when the president of ecuador comes to baños and overreacts to their less acute orange alert. hall: he decided right then that we need an evacuation, we need it now. narrator: the military forces 25,000 tourists and residts to evacuatall areas surrounding tuua. ( sire wli )
en lo doña inés; yo me voy ahora. ( man king annouement over loudspeaker ) even more disruptive: ey have 36 hours to leave. mothes: the institute had recommended that this evacuation could take place over a period of days, not in a day and a half, because we didn't see the volcano was yet that ready to erupt. narrator: they also disagree with the government we have always had an opinionevacuation. that the people living on the west side are the most vulnerable to these pyroclastic flows, but there may have been other villages that we'd have said, "no, these people could probably be left there." narrator: instead, the government moved everyone out-- some to shelters far from the blast zone. outside of baños, the army erects roadblocks to hold back residents eager to go home. but the scientists read new and ominous messages from deep in the mountain.
cuando hay más magma, significa más gas. naat: anmore gas signifies new trouble. ( lo explosion ) it is not the cataclysmic eruption, but a signal of future danger. at the top of the cone, cooling magma seals off the building gas trapped below. ( volcano rumbling ) finally, the pressure builds up so much that it just bursts the seal. ( explosions booming ) narrator: in blast after blast, tungurahua throws room-sized blocks all over the mountainside. what mothes fears now is a blockage and buildup so large it will suddenly release the full fury deep in the earth. mothes: so this was a scenario that we thought was likely, and the clock is ticking. there's 25,000 people evacuated, people are clamoring to get back, and you're trying that has not erupted since 1918. you need to make certain statements
about what you think is going to happen. narror: but what will happen becos creasingly unclear. activity on the mountain plateaus, but does not end. meanwhile, people have been away from their homes and jobs fo2½ months. crops and animals perish from neglect, anstill major eption. then, in december, the media reports thatoldiers are looting residents' homes. the newsouches off a riot. ( shouting ) mothes: they came in on busloads-- about 3,000-- with sticks and stones an drove moff.chetes they took some military hostage also. and eny haa truce thatsigned tt night with the gov sayingwe wilta back our wn and that the government is not responsible for our well-being. narrator: the citizens of baños are happy to be home, relieved that tungurahua did not kill humans.
but are they safe? and whato theyhi of their government d the scientists? peter hall warns that the last fatal eruption occurred almost two years after the initial blasts. and weeelling the op, "don't forget what happened in 1916 and 1918." we went for a long period without activity and the big eruption came late. narrator: if a new eruption threatens, the scientists may have time to issue another alert. the question is, who will heed the call? ator: lcanoes loom over life and landscape in ecuador, just as they have for thousands of years. humans here, as in other places, treat natural hazards if they are lucky, tungurahua will go back to sleep for a long nap. geographers will keep a watchful eye and maybe one day intercede between humans and eir sometimes-olent environment.
narrator: in the subregion of latin america called "southern south america," the country of chile is also threated by volcanoes and earthquakes. but here, pacific rim dynamism is more about economics than plate tectonics. 2,500 miles long and averaging just 90 miles wide, this elongated state spans diversrangeof natural environm. each of those environments offers opportunities based on those activities,vity. chile has grown a dynamic export ecomy. th growthas brought numerous changes to chile's han geography, incling gend rolbrought d settlement patterns. chile's capil, santiago, is the cenr of tountry's service sector,
the largest part of its economy. ers inoun amic santhe resultvingeupe popun of mostly spanish colonization over several centuries. but more recently, chile'sthe primary snt foreign connecto the osideorldth europe. are best seen here, in valparaíso, chile's largest port. foreign trade is a cornerstone of the new economy, and most of it is with pacific m countries, including the united states. man: chile has become one of the most rapidly growing economies in terms of its exports-- not only in terms of the bulk of expor in terms of its exports-- not only in terms of the range of exports, bualso iterms of the range of countries it exports to.
it has become the most dynamic country in latin america terms of inrnational tr rror: ro gwynne,cocr from the university of birmingham in england, has been studying the roots of chile's dramatic economic success and the effects of this rapid change on the chilean people. chile strengthened its market economy and export programs in the 1970s and '80s under a repressive military regime now as a democracy, its annual imports and exports were each around $18 billion by 2001. of e expos e pructs of primary economicctivities, meaning e harvest ofrops or t. e for instance, chile produces one-fifth of the world's cop this is a satellite image of the escondida mine.
chile extracts resources from an incredible range of natural environments. the barren ground cover surrounding the mine reveals one of the driest places on earth-- the atacama desert. chpaficot is much like north america's, the abut in reverse. here, it's the north that is mostly dry and brown, is mbut as you movsouthica's, thtoigr latitus,rse. the green color of this thatsatellite photomosaicown, reveals an ecological zone with great potential for market-motivated exports. along chile's coast, south of santiago, are the small mountains know the coastalange. this region is the center of chile's booming forest products sector. the st common treeere now is the radiata, or monterey pine, imported from california 30 years ago. unr the right condions, radia pines the fastt growg trs the world,
because unlike other trees, they continue to grow all year round. they like it damp, and they won't grow where it is too hot or too cold. that leaves out most places. but with much ideal habitat, chile's south-central coast is now world's by 2000, chile harvested moreha mlion cuc mersf afor cn for wood pulp to mceulose. japa. ddespite japan's economic stagnation, and the asian crisis of the late '90s. fish, too, are an important primary product. whether netted in the pacific or raised on commercial farms, thpp u. anasian consume. t sh and lumber could come from many places around thelobe,
and they can be shippedume. t sh at any time of year,e so chile tried to nd another economic advantage. the solution emerged at a global scale. most of the planet's land mass and population are in the northern hemisphere. half a wor away, chile sought to exploit the biggest difference to life in the southern hemisphere.here. it's 1994, and robert gwynne travels north of santiago to a region known as the norte chico. what he finds did not exishere n years earlr-- grapes... acres and acres of them. s ago, thwas ve little... ve le gre there was tomato production for the national market, that's true, but there was very little table grape production s. w wi for the international markets.
narrator: the geographic advantage is not just where the grapes are grown, but also when. it is late november, and much of the northern hemisphere is already freezing. but this valley has an additional advantage-- it is one of the very few that runs north to south, so it is free of dense morning fogs that move east from the coast. so grapes here ripen in november for delivery by christmas-- y nmecalyar. buthere is al limitation in torteco region. you cae itn e landscape, oon the sides of the mountains. the big problem in the norte chico is not the lack of land but the lack of water. narrator: high in the andes mountains, the white color of ice and snow reveals the source of water here, even in this summer satellite image. in the valleys to the west, there is intense competition for irrigation wat.
gwynne: the amount of water which comes down from the andes is now under severe pressure, particularly in the drought years, when there isn't that much snow on the andes or there isn't that much rain, and there has been severe droughts in the recent times. narrator: some farmers can handle these pressures better than others. having explored the enfor the new industry, robert gwynne now researches the human geography. to see the impact of world markets and global competition, he and a student vsomaarme. for years, was based on small family farms. now those farmers feel squeezed. ( speaking spanish ) translator: how have these new large farms affected you and the other small farmers? ...y sobre los pequeños agricultores. ( speaking spanish )
translator: the truth is that instead of making a profit, we've had losses. ...y la ganancia, creo yo... translator: the small farmer has been losing his plot. ...y la ganancia, creo yo... in fact, for the small farmer, busiss has been much worse since the big exporters arrived. ...cuando llegaron las exportadoras acá. narrator: but the international market rewards those big exporters. larger quantities, lower costs, efficient management and shipping give fewer, larger landowners a competitive advantage. d e lae growers can doometthe smaller f. gitypicay,en are hireddowners to work in the vineyards. in theackings, many traditionally, women in chile rarerely worked outside e home these women, once unseen, unpaid home laborers
in a local subsistence economy are w wage ers inheoomingxport ecy. gwynne: ey now have significant wages, anave a mornarrator: lgwynne interviews many women to see how lifhas changed r the gwynne: ¿qué cambios hay para la mujer...? translor: what cngesave comeoromen inhiarea? ahora sé que se trabaja... antes no trabajaba mucho. translator: before, wonow they do.ork. ...y ¿cómo ha cambiado la vida familiar? translator: how has this changed family life? ( speaking spanish ) translator: the man comes home at seven in the evening, when the woman isn't home yet. he gets up early and she gets ulate. so family life has deterioted, because they aren't often together anymore. in some caseheas beenaps grea,
greater separation betweenten men and women as a result, because traditionally this has been a machista society, where the men tend to ve ve powerful roles in decision making within the household group. narrator: in general, however, most people gwynne interviewed favored the new opportunities. but just as family life has changed, so has life in the regn's small towns. robert gwynne studies the new settlement patterns here. thalf a quick sfoe aithated pps today, sigchange a although an abundae of labor keeps wages thto about dolr per hour,ted pps people have new moy to spend. new stores have opened. after having a few beers, young men on their day off hang out on the main street.
problems arise because of the huge seasonal migration. gwynne: during two months of the year, laboost the populationeo e , considerably-- indeed, this population goes from about 3,000 people to 14,000 people these people tend to bring problems from the cieswith - as ncreasg increas in alcoholisw in these new houses, which have sprouted up on barren hillsides most as quickly ew vineyards. as ncreasg increas in alcoholisw in these new houses, which have sproit's a pattern repeatedides aroundany of chi'smostemots back in saiago, chile is busyy. loweringarriers to t
wioth the european union and the u.s. gwynne: so it would have a double advantage. it would be easier r resource exports and agro-industrial products, products with value added, to go from chile to the united states and for the united states to respond with increasing sales of machinery and capital goods in the high-technology sectors. so there should be significant advantages for the north american free-trade area to be extended to other countries, and particularly chile. remember, chile is the most free-trading country the whole of soer h vy low tariffs, virtually no non-tariff barriers, so it would be relatively easy for the united states to extend these links. ator chile willontit